Thursday, December 01, 2011

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, December 1, 2011.  Chaos and violence continue, the US military calls what's taking place in Iraq "reposturing," Biden tries to put a happy face on the war (despite today's violence), Jalal Talabani leads a cry that politics should take place out of the sight of the Iraqi people, a US Congress member admits publicly they were wrong about the Iraq War and thanks a colleague for being right, the Bradley Manning Support Network and Michael Moore work overtime to get Bradley convicted, and more.
Liz Sly (Washington Post) has covered the Iraq War for many, many years now.  She's a strong reporter so I'll leave it to FAIR or someone else to jump on her word choice (who's in charge of the message of the Iraq War?) in her latest report and instead just note my disagreement with her over the military's choice of terms.  The US military press office in Iraq sent out a farewell message, she reports, and in it they explain that the military calls what's taking place in Iraq a "reposturing" and not a "withdrawal."  She quotes US Col Barry Johsnon explaining, "The reposture is how we refer to moving our troops to other locations outside the country.  The decision was made last year to talk about this as reposturing."  Sly has had many dealings with the office and she interprets this as a mistake or a 'head-scratcher.'  I actually believe the term is far more precise than "withdrawal" and side with the US military press office on this one.  The Post's Emily Hell -- apparently trying to be amusing -- bungles her summary of what took place in Sly's report and demonstrates no understanding that other countries are going to be used as a staging platform.   We're dropping back to the the November 15th Senate Armed Services Committee hearing [see the November 15th "Iraq snapshot," the November 16th "Iraq snapshot" -- excerpt below from the November 16th snapshot -- and the November 17th "Iraq snapshot" and Ava's "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," Wally's "The costs (Wally)" and Kat's "Who wanted what?" ]. 
Senator Joe Lieberman: My question, Mr. Secretary, is if you could just develop the statement that you made a little earlier, that we will have 40,000 troops in the region, does that include the 24,000 now in Iraq? Or have we made a decision to increase the number based on the failure to have more troops in Iraq after January of next year, have we made a decision to increase the number of the troops in the region outside of Iraq for some of those what-ifs I just talked about?
Secretary Leon Panetta: No, Senator, that did not include Iraq. What we have now is in Kuwait we have almost 29,000; Saudi Arabi we've got 258; Bahrain over 6,000 -- close to 7,000 --
Senator Joe Lieberman: Right.
Secretary Leon Panetta: UAE about 3,000, Qatar 7,000 if you go through the region and add up all those numbers, that's the 40,000.
Senator Joe Lieberman:  So has there been a decision made to increase that number at all because we were unable to reach an agreement about continuing presence of American troops in Iraq? In other words, keeping them in the region?
General Martin Dempsey: Yeah, I wouldn't describe it as cause-and-effect relationship based on what happened in Iraq but rather our continuing concern with a more assertive Iran and, uh --
Senator Joe Lieberman: Right.
General Martin Dempsey: -- we are looking at our central command footprint.  You know, Senator, that prior to 2001, we had -- we routinely rotated brigades in and out of Kuwait for training --
Senator Joe Lieberman: Right.
General Martin Dempsey: But also as part of deterrance.  And I think, we haven't negotiated this with Kuwait yet, but it would be my view that we should have some sort of rotational presence -- ground, air, and naval.
Senator Joe Lieberman: Some of those would be combat troops?
General Martin Dempsey:  Absolutely.
Reading the above, you should grasp why the US military is calling it "reposturing" and not "withdrawal."
Luis Martinez (ABC News) reports on a "commemoration event" today at Camp Victory in which Iraqi officials -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani among them -- joined with US Vice President Joe Biden "to pay tribute to the sacrifices of American and Iraqi soldiers in the eight-year-long war."  Biden is on a multi-day visit  
which Al Mada reports  has been controversial, evoking deep reactions from the Sadr bloc and others. Sadrists are denouncing the visit as illegal, insisting the political blocs have spoken (in the October meeting at Jalal Talabani's home) and that negotiations were long ago ended on the issue of 'trainers.' That's an interesting case for the Sadr bloc to be making when (a) they've been one of the biggest leaks in the Iraqi press that negotiations continue and (b) it's Moqtada al-Sadr who has tried to force the issue in Parliament, demanding a hearing on Iraq and that Nouri answer questions. Though the hearing was promised, it was quickly dropped. An excuse was given that Nouri was in Japan so it couldn't be held. Nouri was back in Iraq and they didn't hold it. He'll now be out of the country for a series of visits (including the US) so apparently the hearing Moqtada demanded and Parliament agreed to will never be held. State of Law notes they were aware of the visit before hand. Al Rafidayn focuses on the remarks Biden and Nouri al-Maliki made following the meeting (for an English language report on that, see Mark Landler's report for the New York Times). Biden's quoted stating that the partnership is strong, that there's a strong securirty relationship and that this will depend upon what the Iraqis want. He is quoted stating that talks [negotiations] will continue about the security arrangements "including training, intelligence and counter-terrorism." These negotiations will take place amongst whom? Biden's quoted stating the Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee is going to be "the center of all these efforts."  The High Commission has two chairs: Joe Biden and Nouri al-Maliki.  Dar Addustour notes that Biden's visit has been planned for over a month and postponed at least once. Biden is meeting with others on his visit. Dar Addustour notes he and Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi discussed "political issues." Al Mada reports on his meeting with President Jalal Talabani The article falls back to the joint-statements Nouri and Joe made after their meeting and quotes Biden stating that talks continue between the US and Iraq about training, intelligence and counter-terrorism.  And, yes, for any wondering, Iraqi reports do back up Mark Landler's reporting yesterday. We noted his report in yesterday's snapshot.  I addressed it this morning here.  Landler's reporting stands up and he deserves applause.
Landler also has a strong report on the Camp Victory ceremony today and his best moment is capturing it as "a day of hopeful statements that tried to cast the war in its most positive light."
US House Rep Dana Rohrabacher: This whole episode in American history is a very disturbing thing to look at.  And I think when people look back, they're going to wonder why the hell did we ever go into Iraq?  And there will be no question, even in our minds today, whether or not the money that was expended and the lives and the blood that was expended there was worth it?  It was not.  And whatever we are spending now should be terminated and as soon as we can get those troops out, the better.  When you find yourself in a bad situation, you don't try to mess around to make it a little bit less bad, you just step over and try to get in a good situation somewhere else where you can accomplish things.

Yeah, some can speak the truth and not shy from it. Rohrabacher was speaking at a hearing yesterday, one about the State Dept's plan to spend or waste billions training the Iraqi police or supposedly training since DoD contracts set the pattern for a lack of accountability that it has now handed off to State. 
"Number one, does the government of Iraq -- whose personnel we intend to train -- support the program?" asked US House Rep Gary Ackerman yesterday. "Interviews with senior Iraqi officials by the Special Inspector General show utter disdain for the program. When the Iraqis suggest that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States, I think that might be a clue."
That was Ackerman's important question yesterday afternoon at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia hearing on Iraq.  US House Rep Steve Chabot is the Chair of the Subcommittee, US House Rep Gary Ackerman is the Ranking Member.  The first panel was the State Dept's Brooke Darby.  The second panel was the Inspector General for the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen and SIGIR's Assistant Inspector General for Iraq Glenn D. Furbish.  Chabot had a few comments to make at the start of the hearing.  They often echoed comments made in the November 15th Senate Armed Services Committee hearing [see the November 15th "Iraq snapshot," the November 16th "Iraq snapshot" and the November 17th "Iraq snapshot" and other community reporting on the hearing included Ava's "Scott Brown questions Panetta and Dempsey (Ava)," Wally's "The costs (Wally)" and Kat's "Who wanted what?" ]. But while Senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsey Graham made their comments during rounds of questions, Chabot made his as the start of the hearing in his opening remarks. 
Chair Steve Chabot: Unfortunately, these negotiations failed due to, in my opinion, mismanagement by this White House.  Amazingly, the White House is now trying to tout the breakdown and lack of agreement as a success in as much as it has met a promise President Obama made as a candidate. This blatant politicization calls into question the White House's effort to secure an extension.  Fulfilling a campaign promise at the expense of American national security  is at best strategic neglect and at worse downright irresponsible.  And the White House tacitly admits this in negotiating an extension in the first place. I fear, however, that our objective is no longer to ensure that Iraq is stable but merely to withdraw our forces by the end of this year in order to meet a political time line. Saying that Iraq is secure, stable and self-reliant -- as Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis McDonough  recently did -- does not make it so.  And to borrow a quote from then-Senator Hillary Clinton , It requires "the willing suspension of disbelief" to believe that withdrawing our forces from Iraq at a time when Iranian agents seek to harm at every turn our country and its allies advances our strategic interests.  Although I understand that Iraq is a sovereign country, I believe there is much more we could have done to secure a reasonable troop presence beyond the end of this year.
McCain was wrongly criticized for not grasping Iraq was a sovereign nation in some press accounts. Wrongly.  McCain grasped that fact and acknowledged it repeatedly in the hearing.  Chabot may have wanted all of that at the start of the hearing to ensure that he was not misunderstood.  In addition, Chabot noted the "reports of obstruction and noncooperation on the part of the Department of State during SIGIR's audit.  This is extremely distressing and, to echo the sentiments of several of my colleagues in the other body which they recently expressed in a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, the Department of State is legally obliged to cooperate fully with SIGIR in the execution of its mission; jurisdictional games are unacceptable." In his opening remarks, the Ranking Member weighed in on that topic as well.
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman:  He [Bowen] has testified before other bodies of Congress, he has released written quarterly reports, as well as specific audits and the message is the same: The program for which the Department of State officially took responsibility on October 1st is nearly a text book case of government procurement -- in this case, foreign assistance -- doesn't buy what we think we're paying for, what we want and why more money will only make the problem worse.  Failed procurement is not a problem unique to the State Department.  And when it comes to frittering away millions, Foggy Bottom is a rank amateur compared to the Department of Defense. As our colleagues on the Armed Services committees have learned, the best of projects with the most desirable of purposes can go horribly, horribly off-track; and the hardest thing it seems that any bureaucracy can do is pull the plug on a failed initiative.  How do we know the Police Development Program is going off-track?  Very simple things demonstrate a strong likelihood of waste and mismanagement.  Number one, does the government of Iraq -- whose personnel we intend to train -- support the program? Interviews with senior Iraqi officials by the Special Inspector General show utter disdain for the program. When the Iraqis suggest that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States, I think that might be a clue.
Ackerman went on to note how "the program's objectives remain a mushy bowl of vague platitudes" and how  it had "no comprehensive and detailed plan for execution, there is no current assessment of Iraqi police force capability and, perhaps most tellingly, there are no outcome-based metrics.  This is a flashing-red warning light."
Before we go further, let's jump back to Rohrabacher's statements quoted earlier.  Some may rush to condemn him for them -- some on the right, some on the left, some on the center, some from the apathetic aisles -- by noting that he supported the Iraq War.  True.  And he didn't deny that. Later in the hearing, he noted Ranking Member Ackerman's questioning of Brooke Darby with praise and then added, "Mr. Ackerman and I weren't always on good terms. I argued the case for supporting President Bush with his efforts in Iraq with Mr. Ackerman numerous times and I was wrong.  Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.  This [the Iraq War] has been a waste of our lives and our money."  He also stated during another section of the hearing, "I hope that someone's listening because I wasn't listening years ago when I berated Mr. Ackerman." As US House Rep Brian Higgins would point out, that was a significant moment in Congress where few ever admit they got anything wrong.
Brooke Darby was sent before the Committee to spin.  I'm not going to waste much time or space on her testimony and I do feel sorry for her that she was farmed out on this assignment. "I can't answer that question," she said when asked anything that hadn't been covered in at least three other hearings or "I'm not prepared to put a time limit on it."  (The last one to Gary Ackerman's question of if will take the State Dept 8 years to train the Iraqi police?)  I think she did a strong effort trying to sell the plan but I've heard it all the talking points before over and over -- and so had the Subcommittee, as was evident by their reactions -- and there's no point in including too much of it here.
She referenced her conversation recently with Adnan al-Asadi, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior.  It was apparently a good conversation and he believes trainers and training are both needed.  Chair Chalbot asked if he denied the comments?  (He is among those dismissive of training in the SIGIR reports that Ranking Member Ackerman referred to.)  Darby testified that he didn't.
Another good question would have been, who is al-Asadi's boss?
He's the Deputy Minister at the Ministry of the Interior. Who is his boss?  He has none.  That is one of the three ministries Nouri al-Maliki was supposed to have named a head of back in November 2010 -- November 2010 -- to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister.  Those opposed -- as many members of the Subcommittee were -- funding police training should have probably raised that issue.  Grasp that the headless Ministry of the Interior is who State is coordinating the training with, that there is no Minister of the Interior and they want to throw away a billion US tax payer dollars.
From that first panel, we'll note this exchange.
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: When will they be willing to stand up without us?
Brooke Darby: I wish I could answer that question.
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: Then why are we spending money if we don't have the answer?
[long pause]
Ranking Member Gary Ackerman: You know, this is turning into what happens after a bar mitzvah or a Jewish wedding. It's called "a Jewish goodbye."  Everybody keeps saying goodbye but nobody leaves.
Another exchange that also captured the inability of State to answer any questions took place shortly afterwards.
US House Rep Gerald Connolly: Madame Deputy Assistant Secretary, welcome. Is it your testimony here today that the State Dept is fully committed to transparency and accountability with respect to any and all programs it has oversight and responsibility for in Iraq?
Brooke Darby: We take our responsibility for accountability and cooperation with all of the  audit entities, with Congress very, very seriously.
US House Rep Gerald Connolly: No, ma'am, that was not my question.  Is it your testimony that you're fully committed to transparency and accountability with respect to those responsibilities?
Brooke Darby: We are absolutely committed to accountability.
US House Rep Gerald Connolly: Full accountability?  Full transparency and accountability?
Brooke Darby:  I'm not sure -- I'm not sure how you define that so . . .
US House Rep Gerald Connolly:  Well I guess I'm not sure why you avoid the word.  That was my question and you've ducked it three times.  Are we or are we not, is the State Dept committed to full transparency and accountability to the tax payers in the United States and the people who served in Iraq or not?
Brooke Darby:  We absolutely are accountable to the tax payers, to our Congress and to all of the oversight bodies who are looking into how we are spending our dollars, whether our programs are achieving success.  We are absolutely --
US House Rep Gerald Connolly:  Alright. I'll sort of take that as a commitment.
Those two exchanges capture State's responses during the first panel (which took up the bulk of the hearing).  During the second panel, Bowen would reference the exchange between Connolly and Darby that took place.  Excerpt.
US House Rep Brian Higgins:  Mr. Bowen, you have indicated you've been in Iraq 33 times?
Stuart Bowen:  31.
US House Rep Brian Higgins: 31. Dating back to?
Stuart Bowen: February 2004.
US House Rep Brian Higgins: February 2004 and your last trip was?
Stuart Bowen: Two weeks ago.
US House Rep Brian Higgins: Okay.  The effort starting in 2003 was to commit 8 billion train the Iraqi police force, some 450,000 something Iraqis.  Since there are no baseline assessments, again, I would ask you as I asked the previous witness, anecdotally what is your sense of the security system, the internal security system with respect to Iraq?  Where the holes are?  Are there any places, like in Baghdad, for example, Ramadi, that provide a good example of a successful result from this financial effort?
Stuart Bowen: I think there have been examples of success across the country.  Anbar Province is much safer than it was six years ago.  Uh, Kurdistan, the three northern provinces are largely very well in order.
US House Rep Brian Higgins: But they were pretty calm to begin with?
Stuart Bowen:  You're right, there are two Iraqs.  There are Kurdistan and the southern 15 [provinces].  But really what you are addressing is the current state of the Iraqi rule of law system as a whole.  And that embraces corrections, the judiciary and the police.  And I think that there continue to be serious problems on all fronts not just police training. The judiciary -- over  45 judges have been killed in the last 7 years.  And I met with Judge Mehat [al-Mahmood] during my trip and another judge had just been killed  and he was bemoaning again the lack of weapons guards for his judges' security members.  And on the prison front -- we've-we've -- Frankly, we invested a lot of money building prisons and we wasted a lot of money.
US House Rep Brian Higgins: Sadr City.  About a five million population center of Baghdad.  How does the Iraqi government deal with Sadr City?  Just stay out of there altogether?
Stuart Bowen: I think it's a truce of sorts between the Sadrists who control that area and the rest of Baghdad. And I think that is why, frankly, Prime Minister Maliki's senior deputy minister al-Asadi and others are concerned that the primary location for the police development program in Iraq is right on the edge of Sadr City.  It's directly next to the Baghdad police college --  another place where we wasted a lot of money -- right across the street from the Ministry of the Interior and adjacent to Sadr City and thus a magnet for indirect fire.
US House Rep Brian Higgins: Clearly there's a lack of oversight and transparency.  And that problem is seemingly pervasive and growing or least since we've initiated this back in 2003. Why is it that the State Dept would deliberately make efforts to obstruct, efforts to blame greater oversight and transparency?  Why is there that adversarial relationship?  It would seem to me that your efforts would be  to benefit the effective use, efficient use, of American resources in that region because we all have a strategic interest in seeing that region evolve.  Why is it that you suspect that the State Dept is seemingly obstructing those efforts?
Stuart Bowen:  Well it was obstructing. I think we heard today that they are supportive -- almost "fully" supportive --  of our oversight at this stage. And it took an obstruction letter though, Mr. Higgins, as you were pointing to, to break that log-jam. Why?  You know I can't read into the exact motives but I think to a certain extent it was a -- it was a legalistic argument about jurisdiction.
US House Rep Brian Higgins: Yeah.  Okay.  I just, a final thought on this, someone once said, I think it was [New York Times columnist Thomas] Tom Friedman, he posed the question: Is Iraq the way it is because Saddam  was the way he is or is Saddam is the way he is because Iraq is the way it is?  And I just think when you look at this long, expensive effort --  and I don't just mean financial expense, expense in human capitol -- and the surge experience -- again, which was to tamp down the violence, provide a breathing space within which all the political factions in Iraq could reconcile their difference and evolve; it seems that the surge succeeded militarily but politically the situation doesn't seem to evolve. And obviously the policing issue, as I mentioned previously, in Northern Ireland, is fundamental to the success of any power sharing agreement and without meaningful progress over the past 8 years and this renewed effort given this horrible past of wasted money and great expectations and lofty goals but very, very little to show for it , it seems as though a billion dollar expenditure over the next five years moving forward is not a good use of American resources in a region that I think we've done everything that we can do in order to help them achieve their objectives, whatever they are, be they consistent with our objectives or not.
Yesterday we attended a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing took place as well.  There's just not going to be room for that this snapshot.  It will be covered tomorrow.  I thought we'd do far less on the Subcommittee hearing above; however, when talking to people about coverage today, I kept asking if Rohrabacher's statements were covered and was repeatedly told no.  I agree with US House Rep Brian Higgins that it took character to do what so often never happens, admit that you got something wrong and give credit to someone who got it right as Rohrabacher did in the hearing to Ranking Member Gary Ackerman.
I think the American people are right to be frustrated with the Congress (and the White House) as polls demonstrate they are and I'm not one to believe in the need for 'happy talk' news meaning I don't think the press "owes" Congress sunny reporting.  But I do think Rohrabacher's statements on the Iraq War were significant in themselves.  I think they became more significant when he didn't attempt to pretend like that had been his opinion all along but instead stated he was wrong.  And I agree with Higgins that you rarely get that in Congress let alone someone saying they were wrong and noting that an opponent on the issue was actually right.  That moment demonstrated a maturity that the low results in polling indicate Congress could use a great deal more of.
I've not had time to read any reports on the hearing -- I barely had time to read over my notes from the hearing today -- but a friend at ABC News swears Charley Keys (CNN) had the strongest report on the hearing, click here to see what won praise from someone at a competing network.
Back to Iraq where, as Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) points out, "A car bomb and a separate attack by gunmen in Iraq killed at least 20 people".  Reuters notes 2 corpses ("handcuffed, burned and shot") were discovered in Hashimiya, a HIlla roadside bombing claimed 1 life, the corpse of Sheikh Thalaj Zaalan was discovered in Hilla (beheaded) who was kidnapped yesterday, three Taji roadside bombings left seven police officers injured, another Taji roadside bombing targeted the Minster of Environment and left four people injured, 3 home invasions in Buhriz left 8 Sahwa family members dead and five more injured and a Khalis car bombing claimed 10 lives and left twenty-five injured.
That's a lot while Joe's insisting progress.  He gets lucky today not because I like him (although I do know and like Joe) but because we don't have the room to go into that.  And lack of space in this snapshot is also why we're not doing a rundown of November's violence today.  The plan is to do it tomorrow.  But please note, I'm saying why.  As opposed to all the outlets that run with the low-balled numbers on the last day of the month and the morning of the first day of the month.  Did you see those stories?  No, you didn't. The press is being very sweet to Joe and staying "on message."  Reporting November's violence would dispute his claims that Iraq is so much more peaceful now.
And on that, maybe it's time, since the White House wants to pretend the war is over, to stop comparing violence to the ethnic cleansing of 2006 and 2007?
If things, as Joe Biden insists, are better now then wouldn't the true measure be to compare the violence in Iraq today to the violence in 2002 before the war started?  Funny,  how they never want to make that argument -- that argument that they know they'd lose.
In Iraqi politics, Al Rafidayn reports Jalal's having a fit elsewhere over what he's calling "politicking" among political parties. He thinks they're taking cases to the media and that this needs to stop.He and his two vice presidents (Shi'ite Khudair Khuzai and Sunni Tareq al-Hashemi) issued a statement decrying political parties using the media for campaigns and insisting that all must get along in a "contructive, brotherly" fashion.

Jalal needs to use better terms. Unless he's trying to drag the KRG down. His own niece helped lead the charge last January against Nouri's refusal to appoint women as Cabinet ministers. So he needs to stop using sexist language. Or does he think women can behave "brotherly"? If it came from Nouri, I wouldn't bat an eye but Nouri's not part of the 'other' Iraq or the 'peaceful' Iraq or 'modern' Iraq or however the media (and the KRG) is attempting to sell the KRG. (Talabani is the president of Iraq. He is also a Kurd and from the KRG.)

Second, yes, Iraqi politicians should air their issues in the media. It's not for the politicians to operate out of the eyes of the public. They need to air these issues and the public needs to decide what best represents Iraq.

Third, Jalal needs to get off his fat ass and figure out if they're going to have a third vice president or not. If you've forgotten, back in July, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the third vice president, resigned due to the ongoing political stalemate, there were three.

This issue hasn't been resolved. It's just been ignored. At one point (end of 2010), there was an uproar over the notion that there would be three vice presidents. Then it went away. And there was no uproar when Khudair Khuzai was named. So apparently, the uproar was not over a third person (as was insisted at the time) but either over the fact that the nominee then was a Turkman woman -- objecting due to her ethnicity or her gender or both.

Al Rafidayn notes that the White List is led by a woman, Zuhair Araji. The White List is a bloc of 13 deputies from Iraqiya that have split off. On Iraqiya, Jalal's website notes he met with Ayad Allawi, head of Iraqiya.
Turning to the US and the topic of  Bradley Manning who is finally headed for a military courtroom and an Article 32 hearing on December 16th at Fort Meade, Maryland.  
 Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." Manning has been convicted in the public square despite the fact that he's been convicted in no state and has made no public statements -- despite any claims otherwise, he has made no public statements. Manning has been at Quantico in Virginia, under military lock and key, for months. In March, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. David E. Coombs is Bradley's attorney and he provided a walk through on Article 104.  
The so-called Bradley Manning Support Network is at it again -- "it" being trying to convict Bradley.  How stupid are these people?  You know Bradley's father is enraged every time this crap happens.  The latest post is unsigned.  Here's the link because otherwise no one will believe 'helpers' could be so damn stupid. They link to a "Nation magazine" roundtable that Michael Moore (most infamous for saying Mumia was guilty, remember?) participated in and they quote Moore declaring Bradley's responsible for the Occupy Wall Street movement or 'movement':
"If you really want to pin it down to somebody, I would thank Bradley Manning. And here's why. A young man with a fruit stand in Tunis became very upset because he couldn't figure out why he was just getting screwed and why he couldn't make it. And he read a story, put out by WikiLeaks that exposed how corrupt his government was. And he just couldn't take it anymore, and he set himself on fire. That event, by giving his life to this, created the Arab Spring movement that went across the Middle East and then boomeranged back here to what has been going on in the fall here in North America."
You know what?  Back in the day, I gave money to and helped with the campaign for Angela Davis.  And, pay attention here, we never once went around saying she was guilty.  We didn't fight the charges by saying she was guilty. 
It's a concept that the Bradley Manning Support Group -- so busy whoring for Occupy Wall Street -- can't grasp.  The stupid f**king idiots just quoted today a comment that says Bradley is guilty. 
I don't know if the dumb asses are aware of it or not but the prosecution -- that would be the government -- can use these testimonials, can refer to them at trial. 
Do they not give a damn about the damage they're doing?
Bradley has not entered a plea at this point.  He is innocent until proven guilty.  We went over all of this a year ago when we repeatedly had to slap down these idiots over and over because it's not their place to proclaim his guilt.
He may be guilty.  At present, like anyone else in the American judicial system, he is presumed guilty and it is up to the government to make a case against him.  But how lucky the prosecution is to have the Bradley Manning Support Network make their case for them.
Michael Moore is a stupid, stupid man.  His remarks about Mumia should have resulted in no one taking him seriously on the left.  (He tried to defend it later as a 'joke.'  It's not a joke to be on death row.)  He never should have been quoted at the site to begin with.  But to quote him convicting Bradley?
The always disappointing Kevin Zeese is with the Bradley Manning Support Network.  And all over the net in April he was screaming (click here for Firedoglake) that Barack was wrong to say Bradley was guilty.  Barack was wrong.  But how the hell do you call Barack wrong for doing the same thing that you were doing and for doing the same thing that you are still doing.  Barack made a huge mistake (we've called it out here repeatedly) but at least he only made it once so far.
What is the message to America -- including people serving in the military who may end up jurors in Bradley's trial -- when the Bradley Manning Support Network can't stop convicting the man they claim to support?
Get your act together or close shop.  You're not helping him and you need to quit trying to piggy back you pet causes on his back. He's facing serious charges and he needs support.  If you can't focus on him, find something else to do and stop lying that you're supporting him.